We've heard before that many nonprofits work in silos. Imagine being a young person trying to grow their career in these silos. For many chapter leaders, this is a familiar story. Some of you might have not founded chapters, but you found your chapter because of the same motivations of why young people across the country want to connect with other young people in the sector.
Every month YNPN gets up to ten requests to start a chapter in a new city to join our growing network of 42 chapters (projected to be 50 official chapters by the end of this year!), and 26 start-up chapters across the country. Some of them have had contact with YNPN Chapters in cities they previously lived. They have seen how YNPN Chapters affect their city and want to bring the same to their new cities.
[A word cloud from start up interest form entries]
What we've heard from these start up interest forms:
I am very interested in opportunities for the younger generation nonprofit workforce to make connections, build networks and coalitions, continuously learn, build and enhance skill sets and make a difference in our communities
The nonprofit sector in [our city] is lacking in funding for capacity building and professional development, especially for young professionals who need it the most. We'd like to be a resource in our community
I've been meeting so many non-profit professionals in [our city] and they've all said the same thing - they are craving a space to get together, strategize, network, and build community.
Sound familiar? I love reading these responses because it really solidifies the need for YNPN in the sector.
We know the facts: there is a serious gap in funding for nonprofit staff development. Most of us live this reality at our organizations. Nonprofits are strapped for resources, which means lower salaries (h/t: YNPN Twin Cities) and fewer development opportunities. Aside from development, young professionals are craving a place where they can build community, share ideas, and do their work better.
YNPN aims to fill that gap. YNPN activates emerging leaders and helps them acquire the skills and awareness they need to be effective changemakers. With these leaders, we're building a diverse and powerful social sector that can support and strengthen our communities.
How is YNPN building a powerful and diverse social sector through our networks?
We know that our local chapters are doing this work every day through their programs and events. At the national level, we are also aware of the deeper questions around who actually get access to these professional development opportunities, especially when we are working towards creating a truly diverse and inclusive social sector.
We have a strong network of chapter leaders, and we see this at our Annual Leaders' Conference, and throughout the year as our chapter leaders connect with each other to find out the best ways they can serve local YNPN members. We also see this at the network-level work our chapter leaders participate in.
How can we connect our members and strengthen the network of YNPN local members to mirror the strong network of our chapter leaders? I've written about collaboration to strengthen networks before. I was a YNPN member in Chicago who had the chance to be part of the national work through my Launchpad Fellowship. Even though I wasn't part of the leadership in the local chapter, I was able to learn a lot about managing a national network, and that really changed my perspective on the work that YNPN Chicago does locally.
Imagine if we can mobilize our members to think of this network of 50,000 activated emerging leaders that they can tap into for expertise, connections and movement building. What if we could take the sense of community, the resource-sharing, and the innovation that happens locally and engage all 50,000 of our members together? How powerful would that be?
At YNPN National, our work is to elevate the work that our local chapters are doing. Our members and chapter leaders have unique stories of how they come to the network, but it all comes from the same desire to do our work better and to connect with others who feel the same.
Have thoughts about how we can get our members more connected? Email Hafizah Omar at firstname.lastname@example.org